It was already a horrible night for a Wisconsin woman when a local sheriff’s deputy rolled past a stop sign and into her car, breaking her neck – but it erupted into a full-blown nightmare when she got stuck with wrongful drunk-driving charges.
For 25-year-old Tanya Weyker, the incident began on February 20, 2013, and its consequences have lasted to this day. Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Quiles initially crashed into her car, spinning it out of control and into a tree nearby General Mitchell International Airport.
Weyker – who recently told FOX 6 Now, “It was a miracle I wasn’t paralyzed” – broke her neck in four places. Despite the severity of her injuries, Weyker was questioned at the scene as she was receiving medical attention, and that’s when accusations of drunk driving first emerged.
Blamed by Quiles for the accident, Weyker was asked by authorities if she had been drinking. Weyker said she had taken a few sips from a friend’s drink. One of the deputies told her that her speech was slurred, and that her eyes were red and glassy. Weyker replied that she was crying.
Asked about her intake of prescription drugs, Weyker said she was prescribed Vicodin after getting her wisdom teeth removed, but had not taken the drug for a week.
Her injuries prevented her from being able to take a breathalyzer or perform any other sobriety tests, but the deputies ended up arresting her on five charges, including drunk driving causing an injury.
According to Fox 6, Quiles wrote in his official report on the incident that he made a complete stop at the stop sign and also looked both ways before continuing. He also wrote that he never saw the headlights on Weyker’s Toyota Camry, despite the fact that her lights always switched on automatically when the vehicle started.
“If Deputy Quiles hadn’t essentially blamed the accident on her, they never would’ve drawn her blood. They never would’ve arrested her,” said Andrew Mishlove to Fox 6.
When those test results did come in, they were negative, meaning Weyker was neither drunk nor under the influence of other drugs. When the district attorney’s office decided not to file charges against her, Weyker said she wasn’t informed.
About 10 months after the accident occurred, investigators decided to interview Quiles regarding the accident. Just two days after the crash, surveillance video that showed Quiles was responsible was made available to the sheriff’s office, but law enforcement had decided to continue pressing Weyker to pay for the damages caused in the accident.
During the interview with investigators, however, Quiles admitted he probably rolled through the stop sign. Below is a transcript, courtesy of Fox 6:
Internal Investigator “You believe that you probably did roll?”
Voice of Deputy Quiles “Yes. Yes, I
Internal Investigator “And because of that, you believe you were at fault for this accident.”
Voice of Deputy Quiles “That’s correct.”
Weyker has now filed a complaint against the deputy who arrested her, a move that could lead to a civil rights lawsuit aiming to cover the cost of her medical bills.
As for Quiles, although he is still listed as active in the sheriff’s office, the deputy has reportedly not worked since the accident. Despite reports stating he suffered only minor injuries at the time, Quiles has filed a permanent disability claim that is still pending.